Recently a post on facebook asked “When (how) does a boy become a man?” Additionally, the poster asked men to contribute their recollections of their transition — key moments when they “put away childhood” and stepped up as a man.
The poster from “Stepping Up” (a men’s ministry) also referenced a blog article which reminded us of 1 Cor 13:11 “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.” Interestingly, this verse follows the “love is” text of 1 Cor 13:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
What, then, is the connection between Paul’s description of true love and becoming a man after putting away childish thinking and habits? When does a boy become a man? Is it triggered at a specific age, by a specific action, during a time of stress or introspection? The accompanying video from “Stepping Up” provides a reminder that the answers are elusive for many people who haven’t given it much thought:
So, how about you and your friends or family? Were there key moments that served as stepping stones away from childhood towards manhood?
For me, I don’t remember a singular event, but a series of decisions, and situations:
- learning to own my bad choices and their consequences;
- accepting responsibility for others (scout patrol) and asking them to trust me (and dealing with both good results and letting them down);
- learning how to deal with adults to resolve conflicts and problems in a respectful, but assertive (adult-like) manner
- learning to let go of what I wanted in order to help others (self sacrifices);
- pushing myself to do better than “good enough” out of respect for my mentor, family, friends;
- learning that finishing strong is often more important than starting something new;
- deciding to step up when I could get away with sliding by.
“Stepping up” to own responsibility doesn’t end and it doesn’t get easier…it just becomes more familiar…new day, new challenge, press on.